NC State Looking at Ways to Prevent Violence in Schools
Posted December 2, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST
RALEIGH — Upon hearing about the shooting tragedy in a Kentucky school Monday, many are concerned about protecting their children here in the Triangle. WRAL-TV5 Education ReporterYvonne Simonstalked with North Carolina's Center for the Prevention of School Violence on the North Carolina State University Campus, where experts are looking into the matter.
Dr. Pam Riley works at the center. She says NC is pro-active when it comes to violence prevention. By way of comparison, Ky schools don't have required safe school plans, but NC does. State law here requires individual schools to put plans into action when a dangerous situation arises.
The Center says no school can be completely free of risk if a student decides to solve problems with a weapon, but research indicates the presence of a school resource officer like the ones in a Durham Middle School is a first line of defense in protecting children at school. The officers get to know the children and listen in on the student grapevine for hints of trouble.
The NC Department of Public Instruction's last state school violence report showed extremely violent incidents, such as assault with weapons, gun possession, and teacher assault. All were down from the previous two-year period.
The NC Director of Safe Schools says violence often starts in small doses and in fighting. To attack violence problems at that level, many middle and high schools have conflict mediation teams which help students work out their problems.
A 1994 Rand Corporation report on student behavior and achievement says it's what happens at home that most influences a child's behavior. Parents need to lead the way in teaching their children that aggression rarely solves problems and creates many, many more.